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Kennedy Regeneron Scholars Discuss Research

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Matthew Klein and Cameron Levy, both of Kennedy High School were recognized as 2018 Regeneron Science Talent Search Scholars on Jan. 9. Nothing short of sheer commitment and sacrifice landed them here. 

They are two of 300 students acknowledged from across the nation and two of 46 from Long Island.  

Klein’s research, “Galaxy Cluster Assembly and Ignition of Active Galactic Nuclei,” was completed at SUNY Farmingdale.
In layman’s terms, galaxy clusters are the largest structures in the known universe. Gauging their evolution is essential to understand basic properties of the universe. 

Klein researched more than 80 clusters, each containing 200-300 galaxy sources, to determine if there was a correlation between infalling galaxies and active galactic nuclei within a cluster.

While the 150+ hours of research found that there was a negative correlation, he was able to create a more efficient method of observing these galaxies within clusters.

“I wrote a program that collected data from these databases and plot them” Klein said. “Observing galaxy dynamics is typically a tedious method.”

Klein taught himself Python, a computer language program, used to create this observation method.

“His new method of doing this makes it much simpler for people to study galaxy clusters,” added adviser Barbi Frank.

Klein, a black belt in karate, is also a member of the school’s science club, art club and an AP art student.

Levy’s research, “An Analysis of the Interactions Among the Histone Deacetylase Sir2, TOR Signaling, and the Heat Shock Response Instigator Heat Shock Factor 1,” was completed at Long Island University, CW POST.

This was a study of biological transcriptional mechanism by which organisms can protect themselves from stressors such as high temperatures, cancers or geo-toxic (drug-related).

The drug used in his research, resveratrol, has been shown to extend lifespan, but its effects on stress resistance are unknown. His research revealed that the target enzyme of resveratrol, Sir2, operate in a common pathway to produce stress resistance and have an innate interaction between Sir2 and the stress response. Another drug was used as a base comparison. 

“This study has implications in the development of treatments that can increase resistance to a broad range of stressors, including aging and disease,” Levy explained.

Levy is a highly competitive fencer, recently signed with Princeton University to play on the fencing team. He is currently ranked no. 20 in the nation, overall and often travels from school to the science lab to Brooklyn, where he trains five times per week.

The Regeneron STS is the nation's most prestigious pre-college science competition. Each scholar, selected from 1,818 entrants, receives a $2,000 award with an additional $2,000 going to his or her respective school. The 40 finalists chosen to compete in Washington, D.C., in March will be announced on Jan. 23.  

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